Some Damage Remains At Lakes

Friday, March 14th 2008, 6:39 pm
By: News On 6

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working hard to clean up damage to the parks and campgrounds, but some spots won't be done by the usual opening day.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports they've been dealing with a double blow of flooding, and then, the ice storm.

Park Ranger Lee Perry has spent a lot of time driving in the last 6 months, surveying damage to park lands controlled by the Army Corps.  The damage is everywhere he looks.

The damage started down at the bottom of some stairs at White Water Park below Keystone Dam.

"We had so much water coming out at one time; we've had some gouging here.  It's taken out our riprap and made it unsafe for the public to come down here and fish," said Park Ranger Lee Perry.

Last July, the lake was high and the flood gates were open, and all that water washed away rocks meant to protect the bank.

Up on the lake, the high water sent floating trees and other debris into camping areas that are normally well above the water level.

"High water, a lot of debris coming down from the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers, washing up on the shore," said Park Ranger Lee Perry.

About the time the flood water receded and the cleanup was underway, a second wave of damage hit these recreation areas.  The ice storm brought down trees that will take years to clean up.

The Salt Fork campground, the largest on Keystone Lake, has hundreds of trees still needing to be trimmed or cut down.

But, Army Corps staff and some volunteers have cleared enough so the campgrounds can open April 1st; however, some camp sites will remain closed.

The fishing area, with plenty of warning signs, reopens this weekend.

There is no timeline for repairing the damage across all of the Tulsa Corps lakes.  But, the price tag is estimated at $25 million.

While holding the water back caused much of the damage to recreation areas, the Corps figures the flood control prevented more than $600 million worth of damage.

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